It’s been a while. We haven’t really hung out that much. And now we’re faced with a family holiday and you might being seeing people again for the first time in months. So, I thought I would take a minute and give you some tips to get ready to be together with people again.

1. Exercise the rest of your fingers

So, you’ve probably spent a lot of time on your phone lately, I know I have. So, my thumb muscles are beyond compare, but people might want to shake my hand when I see them again. In order to keep my other fingers from despair, I’m going to start working out the rest of my fingers. Probably by typing on my computer…

2. Practice your smile

It might have been a while since you’ve seen anyone outside of your house without a mask on. So, you might want to practice smiling again. I know I walk around the house with as little energy as possible, so I don’t waste my time raising the sides of my lips. So, I’ll spend a couple minutes a day looking at the mirror remembering what it looks like to be friendly and not creepy…

3. Repeat after me – “That’s interesting. Have you seen this cat video?”

Changing the topic – A technique I’ve mastered over the last few months. Starting with “that’s interesting” keep the relationship from falling apart and gives you a way to respectfully not blow your top. And something funny that you both can appreciate builds the relationship around things that are what all strong relationships are built on – divergence. Before you head to your family vacation or event, bookmark a few videos on your phone so you’re ready when the topic pulls around to something you’d rather avoid.

4. Nostalgia

Pop in an old movie that you all liked from your childhood and come prepared to quote and replay scenes. If you’re lucky, your cousins have honed their acting skills while they’ve been home the past couple months and you can act it all out together.

5. Remember to laugh

Hopefully, you caught on that this was satire. We could all use a good laugh now and then and your upcoming family event is the perfect place to practice. Now, I don’t suggest you laugh in someone’s face when they’re clearly not being funny… but walk in with a laugh in mind and I think you’ll make it through ok.

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